Kyoto, Day 2.
We started off our morning with a plan and not enough time. We purchased all day bus passes, which were a good plan. About 2 bus rides and they’re paid for. We hopped plenty more than that today. We’ll probably be getting them for tomorrow as well. We popped into a 7-11 for breakfast, and so I could use the ATM. With a pocket full of yen, we headed onward. We started at Fushimi Inari Shrine. We spent a good while hiking up and down the paths, passing through the torii and checking out some fabulous views. The shrine is set into the mountain, and it was no small task to scale the steps. But the view was worth it. We also met some local cats who were quite sweet. The shrine was also dotted with fox statues, which were quite cool.
We headed out from the shrine as it was starting to rain. We intended to head to Ginkuku-ji and Eikan-do, but we decided to grab some lunch first. We dropped into a soba shop in Gion, and I had another culinary experience. I ordered a tempura bowl, because I figured I couldn’t go wrong with fried food. A couple large shrimp floated atop my soba, and it warmed me up quite well on a cold, rainy day.
From there, we headed to Kiyomizu-dera. A temple built along the hillside, and parts of it are supported by impressive wooden pillars. Looking out from the temple, there was a beautiful view of the forest below and the city beyond. We wandered through the complex, and past a building that was being worked on. We followed the paths over to the pagoda, and down to the waterfall. I sat and watched people pass here for a bit before we continued on our way. From there, it was a short walk back out of the temple complex. We headed back in the general direction of the hotel.
We attempted to head to our other destinations, but after getting turned around, we were past time for either to be open. It’s disheartening how early many of these places close. It seems the city is an early to bed, early to rise sort of place. We headed back to the hotel to regroup.
Rachel decided to stay in for the remainder of the night and get rested up. Evan and I headed out with the intention of visiting Toji temple, which is currently doing evening illuminations. We arrived, and after walking the wrong way around the perimeter, we found the entrance and got to see the fruits of our travel. Toji temple features a five story pagoda which is the tallest wooden building in Japan. The spotlights shining up on it made it that much more impressive against the night sky. The shrines at the temple featured some gorgeous statues, and it’s a shame that we weren’t allowed to take pictures of them. The grounds of the temple were equally stunning. We walked among cherry blossoms and meticulously maintained trees. Everything was lit brilliantly and it was absolutely worth the thorough soaking we were getting in the rain.
Afterwards, we dropped into a cafe for a quick bite, and headed back to the hotel. We’re planning on getting an even earlier start tomorrow to fit in the things we missed today. Then we’re off to Tokyo!